Pilisa, the founder of Creative Gateways, was living in Adelaide, Australia when she was first introduced to the potential of an artists collective. The architect helping her renovate her home commissioned a chandelier via a group of local creatives in a collective called The Jam Factory, named after the ex-industrial space they worked from.
“It was like no other chandelier I’ve ever seen” remembers Pilisa.
A collaboration between a glass artist and an ironworker, it epitomised the possibilities that emerge when artists from different disciplines work under one roof. It was Pilisa’s first experience of creative cross-collaboration by artists sharing a space.
Fast forward to 2009 and Pilisa had begun making her own glass art in earnest from her home in Sedona. Working out of her garage solo at first, and later with her creative partner, she endured freezing winters and baking summers, desperately working to maintain the temperatures needed to hold the integrity of the glass at fragile stages of its creation.
A move to a studio was long overdue, but the idea of moving to a studio alone felt isolating. And so, the idea of bringing a new collective to life took hold. Once the right space was found, things moved fast – preparing and renovating the building and finding artists who wanted to be a part of the unique community – and the result is the space you see today.
Creative Gateways was a residence before it become a Waldorf school. The founder of the Waldorf system, Rudolf Steiner, described his method of education as “not a pedagogical system but an art – the art of awakening what is actually there within the human being.”
We like to think that that spirit of creative awakening remains within these walls.
The building was owned by artist Mary Fisher, working in paper, fiber and beads, before Creative Gateways arrived in 2016.
The purchase of the building was itself a collaborative process; Pilisa’s creative partner was the first to see the space, before she was able to visit in person and confirm his instincts. Pilisa says “I knew as soon as I stepped inside that this was the place for Creative Gateways”.
As an artist working in glass, Pilisa embraces the spontaneous and the unexpected as the process and materials are inherently unpredictable. Creative Gateways deepens that commitment to openness and innovation with further opportunities for new ideas, inspiration and ways of working. Pilisa loves to share her process with those who are drawn to her work and to welcome new visitors to the studio.
Her long term vision is to create a permanent, sustainable intentional collaborative community on land just outside Sedona, and Creative Gateways is a step towards growing that creative community.
You can read more about Pilisa’s art here.
See Pilisa’s work in the Creative Gateways online gallery here.